With the NFL draft just 10 days away, one of the unanswered questions facing the Philadelphia Eagles remains the status of cornerback Asante Samuel. The Eagles have cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the roster as well, and Samuel's age (31) and 2012 cap number ($10.5 million) make him the most logical of those three to trade if they want to alleviate overcrowding in their secondary. Samuel is aware his name has come up in trade discussions, but he told the team's website he'd prefer to stay in Philadelphia:
"Of course, I love it here. This is my home. I've never been to a place I love more than Philadelphia," Samuel said. "It's up to management. I want to be here. I've always voiced that opinion. It's up to them."
Last year, the Eagles brought in two other Pro Bowl cornerbacks -- Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie. The transition was tough as Asomugha had an expanded role in the defense and Rodgers-Cromartie played inside for the first time in his career. With a full offseason, Samuel thinks the three could thrive in the same defense.
"The more time you spend together the more you get to jell, the better things are," Samuel said. "We jumped right into training camp (last year). A lot of people didn't know a lot of things. We had two new corners. They had to catch on at a fast pace."
I personally believe Samuel would prefer to play this season in Philadelphia. There's a sense of unfinished business around the Eagles, and a belief that the roster as structured is considerably better than last year's 8-8 record would indicate. If you played on the Eagles last year, you're eager for your mulligan and you'd like nothing better than to take another shot at the success you envisioned for last year.
However, even if you believe that Samuel is OK with a repeat of last year's three-star-cornerback arrangement, it's unlikely the Eagles feel the same way. Rodgers-Cromartie is better suited for an outside cornerback role, Joselio Hanson is a good nickel corner and the Eagles could find something better to do (say, sign running back LeSean McCoy) with that $10.5 million. So whatever he feels or says, there remains a strong chance Samuel is traded, either sometime in the next 10 days or sometime during the draft that begins 10 days from now. He's a better player than Rodgers-Cromartie is, but the numbers likely make him the odd man out.